How To Integrate iAd into Your iPhone App

1) Integrate iAd 2) ??? 3) PROFIT!

1) Integrate iAd 2) ??? 3) PROFIT!

With the iOs SDK 4 now public and the advent of iAds just a few days
away, I thought we’d celebrate with a tutorial on how to integrate iAd
into your iPhone app!

In this tutorial, not only will we show you how to get started with
iAd, but we’ll also show you how to deal with some complex issues you
may run into along the way such as:

  • Supporting both Portrait and Landscape ads in the same app
  • Integrating into a Universal app
  • Maintaining backwards compatibility with iOs 3.0
  • What to do if you are using a UITableViewController!

We’re actually going to start with where we left off in the How To Port an iPhone Application to the iPad and use the universal app we developed in that tutorial in the starting point.

So grab a copy if you haven’t already, and let’s get to adding some iAds!

Base SDK vs. Deployment Target

The first step to use iAd is to make sure our project has the right Base SDK and iPhone OS Deployment Target selected.

For those of you confused about the difference between the Base SDK
and Deployment Target (like I was for quite some time!), here’s what
they mean:

  • The Base SDK is the version of the SDK you are linking
    against. Your app can use any classes or functions available in the
    version of the SDK you choose here – as long as they are available on
    the actual device the code runs on.
  • The Deployment Target is the earliest possible version of
    the SDK your code can run on. This can be an earlier version than the
    Base SDK – in fact you often want to set it to be earlier to ensure that
    as many different versions of the OS can run your code as possible!

The tricky bit is what happens when you want to use a class,
function, or framework available in one version of the OS if it’s
available, but still work on the old version of the OS if it isn’t. We
already did some of this in How To Port an iPhone Application to the iPad, and we’ll do even more in this tutorial!

For this tutorial, we want to set things up so that our code can use
stuff available in iOS 4.0 (such as iAd), but still run on as many
devices as reasonable (3.0+).

So first let’s set iOs 4.0 as the base SDK. To do this, expand the
Targets directory, right click on PortMe, and choose “Get Info”. Click
the Build tab, make sure “All Configurations” is selected, navigate to
ArchitecturesBase SDK, and change the value to iPhone Device 4.0.

Screenshot of Setting Base SDK

Then, let’s set iPhone OS 3.0 as the iPhone OS Deployment Target. To
do this, still in the Target Build tab, navigate to DeploymentiPhone
OS Deployment Target, and change the value to iPhone OS 3.0.

Screenshot of setting Deployment Target

You should now be able to compile and run your app (use the iPhone
simulator), and try it out on an iPhone 4 simulator. Once you run your
code, in the simulator choose HardwareDeviceiPhone OS 4 and re-run
your app. The simulator window will look a little different, and say
iPhone 4 in the toolbar, so you’ll know it’s working!

Screenshot of PortMe on iOS4

Linking Against the iAd Framework

The next thing we need to do is add the iAd framework to the project.
You can do this by right clicking on Frameworks, choosing
“AddExisting Frameworks…”, and choosing “iAd.framework”.

The problem is, if that is all we do our code will break on older devices that don’t have the iAd framework.

You can verify this by trying to run your code in the iPad Simulator
3.2 – boom! The app will crash on startup and you’ll see the following
error log:

To fix this, we need to weak link against the iAd framework. Expand
the Targets directory, right click on PortMe, and choose “Get Info”.
Click the Build tab, make sure “All Configurations” is selected, and
navigate to LinkingOther Linker Flags. Double click on that entry,
click the “+” button, and type “-weak_framework iAd”.

Click OK, and then try your app on the iPad simulator again and viola – it should work!

Preparing our XIB

In this tutorial, we’re going to integrate iAd into both the
PortMeGameListController and the PortMeGameDetailsController. However,
the integration is a bit easier in the PortMeGameDetailsController
because it is a subclass of UIViewController, so we’re going to start
there first.

Open up PortMeGameDetailsController.xib. You’ll see that all of the controls are children of a single view:

Details View Controller Settings - Before

What we’re going to need to do with iAd is scroll an ad view onto the
screen when an ad is available, and shrink the rest of the content to
fill the remaining space. As currently designed, this isn’t that easy
because all of the controls are direct children of the root view. But
there’s an easy way to fix it – we’ll simply move the controls into a
subview instead!

The easiest way to do this is to drag another view from the library
into the XIB, and change its size to be the same as the existing view’s
size (320×416). Then drag the existing view as a subview of the new
view. When you’re done, it should look like the following:

Details View Controller Settings - After

Then, control-drag from the File’s Owner to the new view (which is
now the root view) to connect it to the view outlet. Save your XIB, and
run the project and verify that everything still works OK with the
details view (in particularly that orientation resizing works
correctly). If all works well, we’re one step closer to integrating

Simple iAd Integration

Ok, now let’s get to the fun part – integrating iAd!

First, make the following changes to PortMeGameDetailsController:

We first include the iAd headers and mark the view controller as
implementing the ADBannerViewDelegate. This way, we can receive events
as ads become available or not.

We then declare a property to keep track of the content view that
contains all of the controls (basically the inner UIView). We also
declare a variable to keep track of our iAd banner view, and whether or
not it’s currently visible.

Note that we declare the iAd banner view as an id variable rather
than as a ADBannerView. This is because we want to ensure backwards
compatibility all the way to OS 3.0, and the ADBannerView class is only
available on 4.0+, so we need to weak link against it.

Before we forget, let’s hook up our content view to the new outlet we
just made. Make sure you save PortMeGameDetailsController.h, go back
to PortMeGameDetailsController.xib, control-drag from the File’s Owner
to the inner (second) UIView, and connect it to the contentView outlet.

Then switch over to PortMeGameDetailsController.m and make the following changes:

Next, we’re going to add the meat of the code. But there’s a lot of it – so let’s break it down into 6 steps.

1) Add helper functions to get height of iAd banner

There are several places in the rest of the code where we’re going to
want to know how large the banner view should be given a particular
orientation. Currently iAds have two possible sizes: 320×50 for
landscape, or 480×32 for portrait. So we simply retrieve the proper
height based on the passed in orientation.

2) Add helper function to create the iAd view

This helper function creates an ADBannerView in a manner that is safe
to use across multiple OS versions. It uses weak linking and
NSClassFromString to check if the ADBannerView class is available – if
it is not, the method will return nil and the function will bail.

However, if it is available it creates an instance of the class. It
then uses the setRequiredContentSizeIdentifiers to specify what kind of
ads this app needs. For our case, our app supports both portrait and
landscape modes so it needs both ad options.

It then calls setCurrentContentSizeIdentifier to tell iAd which ad it
should display. We simply choose the correct one by looking at the
current orientation.

Next, we need to set the frame for the iAd. Note there’s some funky
business here – we actually set the frame of the view to be offscreen!
This is because we don’t know if an ad is available yet, and we don’t
want to display the view until we know one is.

We set our view controller as the delegate so that we can receive
notice about iAds being available or not. Then finally we ad the new
iAd banner view as a subview of our view!

Note something subtle about the above – we always use message passing
syntax rather than dot notation (i.e. [_adBannerView
setRequiredContentSizeIdentifiers:…] instead of
_adBannerView.requiredContentSizeIdentifiers = …). This is again to
make sure everything runs fine on OS 3.0+.

3) Add function to size views correctly

This is a helper function we can call to make sure our views are in
the right position. If ads are available, we want the ad banner view to
be at the top of the screen and the content view shrunk a bit to fill
the rest of the area. If ads are not available, we want the ad banner
view offscreen and the content view as large as the entire view here.

And that’s exactly what the above function does. It looks long, but
is fairly simple and self-explanatory. Note that we wrap the resizing
code in an animation block to make things look awesome.

4) Call createAdView in viewDidLoad

We want to create our ad view as soon as our view is loaded, even if we aren’t ready to display it quite yet.

5) Call fixupAdView in viewWillAppear and willRotateToInterfaceOrientation

We need to fix up our ad view in viewWillAppear, because the device
may have changed orientations in the time between when our view was
visible last and now. And we obviously need to change it upon rotation
as well!

6) Implement ADBannerViewDelegate

Now that we have our helper functions, implementing the
ADBannerViewDelegate methods are quite simple. We simply toggle whether
the ad banner view should be visible or not, and call fixupAdView.


And that’s it! Compile and run your project, and you should see ads appear correctly in both portrait and landscape mode.

iAd in List View - Portrait Mode

iAd in List View - Landscape Mode

And best yet – if you run the code on an iPad or iPhone 3.0 device it will work just fine as well, but without ads!

UITableView integration

Well that worked great for our details controller, but we want it in our list controller too!

The problem is our list controller is a UITableViewController.
Unfortunately, it seems like the best way to deal with this situation is
to convert your UITableViewController to a normal UIViewController and
then proceed similarly to the way we did above. So here are all of the
gory steps:

1) Create a XIB for PortMeGameListController

Go to FileNew File, choose User Interface and View XIB, make sure
Product is iPhone, and click Next. Name the XIB
PortMeGameListController.xib and click Finish.

Open up the XIB, click on the File’s Owner, and in the fourth tab of
the Attributes Inspector change the class to PortMeGameListController.

Then drag a UIView into the current UIView (so there are 2, just like
we did before), and add a UITableView to the inner view. When you’re
done it should look like this:

XIB settings for PortMe's List View Controller

2) Make some changes to PortMeGameListController

Inside PortMeGameListController.h:

Inside PortMeGameListController.m:

Don’t forget to save the files!

3) Hook up outlets

Now go back to PortMeGameListController.xib and connect the first
view to the view outlet, the second to the contentView outlet, and the
third to the tableView outlet.

Also control-drag from the tableView back to the File’s Owner and set it as the delegate and datasource.

4) Set the NIB name for PortMeGameListController in MainWindow

Open MainWindow.xib and MainWindow-iPad.xib, expand the Navigation
Controller, select “Port Me Game List Controller”, and change the nib
name to PortMeGameListController.

5) Compile and test to make sure everything works as usual

At this point, compile and run your code and make sure everything
works as it usually does – but now you’re using a UIViewController
rather than a TableViewController, and you have a XIB laid out in a nice
way to use iAds!

6) Follow the steps from the previous section

Now you’re exactly where we were in the previous section with a view
controller – so follow the same steps to integrate in this view!


If all goes well, you should be able to compile and run your project and see advertisements at the top of your table view!

iAd in Table View - Portrait Mode

iAd in Table View - Landscape Mode

Where To Go Now?

Here is a sample project with all of the code we’ve developed in the above tutorial.

Now you should know how to integrate iAds into your projects – no
matter what OSs you wish to support for your app! I’d love to hear your
experiences with iAds and how well they are working (or not) for your

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